Her name is Madonna badger I’m sure many of you may already know who she is and what her tragic story is. On December 25, 2011 she woke up to what would soon be the most devastating day of her life. Her house had caught on fire and she wasn’t able to save her three little girls or parents despite her efforts to do so. What touched my heart is how she explained how she tried her best to save her little girls. “I think we all have this idea that we’d turn into some kind of Superwoman in situations like this—you know, we’ll get in there by any means possible, no matter how hot the fire or how thick the smoke. But I couldn’t breathe.”
Although it wasn’t an easy battle and rest assured will never be an easy battle, Madonna Badger stumbled through that period and eventually, with the help of close friends, doctors and love from strangers who empathized with her situation she developed a coping mechanism. In her Ted Talk titled “filled with love.” Badger’s theme for this talk is resilience and she talks about how she gets through, by answering some of the common questions she gets from people.
On getting out of bed
Some days are okay for her and some days are extremely difficult. Badger says that you can’t think your way out of bed, you have to act your way out of bed. What I love most about her positive attitude is that when she is able to get out of bed and get a coffee then go to bed, to her that is not a sign of struggling or failing to cope, she simply says those are little victories. It can be as small as just being able to bath that day or make a phone call to a friend. Those are her little victories. I wonder how life would be for us if we weren’t so harsh on ourselves in tough times and referred to our little efforts as little victories, rather than stumbling blocks or obstacles that make it difficult for us to get by?
On how to keep on going
“I’m still their mom and I’m still a daughter to my parents, they are still with me” these words are so powerful because often times when we lose something we feel we no longer play that role. Badger keeps her family alive by acknowledging and claiming that their death does not diminish or take away who she still is. Her identity is still the same, and in all honesty I believe this is what keeps her sane. Knowing her identify is still a mom, although her children aren’t with her physically.
Do not numb the pain
One of the key lessons Madonna teaches is the ability to let yourself be broken, to feel the pain and to just allow it rather than trying to numb it with drugs or alcohol or pretending that you are okay when you are not okay. Madonna feels her pain when she walks behind a school bus filled with children, on mothers day, or when she hears a little girl yell “mommy”, these are the heartbreaking moments that she says sometimes do make her want to shut down and stay at home but instead she chooses to see her little girls in those places, happy.
The final resting place and finding peace in Madonna’s words…
Earlier this fall I walked from Bill’s house in Brooklyn to Green-Wood Cemetery to find a place to bury the ashes of my daughters. I kept thinking that I should have been taking them to their first day of school, or having a parent-teacher conference, but after almost two years, I was ready for them to have a final resting place. Once I came to terms with that, I felt strangely peaceful, though facing the physicality of that place is really, really hard. At a certain point, you can either be full of hate or full of love—it can go either way. I have no hate in my heart, no bitterness, and I am blessed by this.
I found a beautiful spot for them, up on a hill. And I can feel my girls and my parents with me every day. This gives me immeasurable hope.
Final Takeaways from Madonna Badger
Love never dies and it is the one thing we can probably keep forever, even after our loved ones are gone or when we lose that thing we never thought we would lose. We can still choose to love. Love is a very powerful force and the reason Madonna chooses to love is because she says when she is full of anger or bitterness, she can not feel her girls, she can not feel the love of her girls or her parents but love allows her to feel them all.